Economy and materialism are concepts that come up every day in the life of Americans. Those who are not from America may think the way Americans live is strange and wasteful and they’d be right in their thinking that. Americans are consumed by consumerism and the need to buy things because there is always some new and improved version of what was purchased two weeks ago. Although it is said that Americans are too materialistic, the truth is that materialistic does not quite cover the near obsession with the latest and greatest that Americans have.
In America it is more common for a nine year old child to own the latest cell phone than it is for them to own a book. Americans are obsessed with the “labor-savers and gadgets that [they] have become addicted too” (Berry). Americans take upgrading to a whole new level; in America one could go and buy a fancy new cell phone and in just a few short months that phone is out dated and old because there is a brand new one already out. It has also become a competition of who has the best or the latest in technology.
It is not just technology that people compete with but other goods to be bought like clothes and houses and even furniture and appliances. People as a whole are consumed by and possessed with the need to buy things and have better than their neighbors because it makes them feel superior and better than others and no one wants to feel lesser than someone else. People need a better approach to life, it was put best by Thoreau who said “it is necessary that we be troubled, or, at least, careful” (Thoreau). What he said could be interpreted as people need to be mindful of what they are doing lest it turn out badly, this can be implemented to the obsession of consumerism and materialism: two things that plague many people today.
It is not only the consumers that are the problem in this wasteful and materialistic economy; the fault also goes to the manufacturers who are consistently producing goods that fall apart or that are easily made outdated by the newest product they put out. The fact that there is always something newer and better out there just pushes the competition along and makes people more inclined to throw away the “old” product to get the newest and best and in that aspect it is not only the consumers fault for thinking they need it but the manufacturers for making them think so. A quote by writer John Kenneth Galbraith sums it up pretty good; he said “The even more direct link between production and wants is provided by the institutions of modern advertising and salesmanship” (Galbraith). It is in the advertisements that people see the newest things and then grow to want them but as Galbraith also said “One cannot defend production as satisfying wants if that production creates the wants” meaning people cannot say they need something if it is so replaceable when something better comes along (Galbraith).
Americans and other people rely on consumerism and materialism to support the...